My apologies for missing/skipping last week. Sometimes the struggle prevails. On to today…

JOSHUA 3:5-8 – PREPARE TO BE AMAZED AND EXALTED

Last time, we talked about the distance between the Israelites and the Ark of the Covenant as they prepared to cross the Jordan River. It provides a perspective to help the Israelites see the bigger picture of what’s going on and it served as a reminder that they were following God. In fact, they had been following God for the entire time they wandered the desert – even when it seemed as though they weren’t being led anywhere.

The truth is, we’re always being led, a plan is always being executed – even when we’re stuck in the desert. The desert is where God puts us until we’re ready for the plan He’s constructing for us. And while we’re there, we have a job to do. Our job is to prepare. Get ready. Or, as Joshua says here, “Sanctify” ourselves.

Sanctification is a setting apart. There’s a spiritual aspect to this. It’s not just doing your push-ups and stretching to prepare for the journey. It’s a serious soul search. It’s a matter of cleaning our hearts and minds and dedicating our very lives to the will of God. It’s a big deal. But it’s a small price to pay.

Once the Israelites sanctify themselves, God promises to do wonders among them. This obviously refers to the parting of the river, which is about to occur, but it seems to me there’s even more going on here. If the promised land is a picture of Heaven, then this is a picture of what it means to enter the presence of God. We need to take it seriously. It needs to be sacred. And, God needs to do wonders among us. It takes a supernatural act to cleanse us, but the first step lies within our willingness to begin the sanctification process.

And for Joshua, God promises to exalt him among the Israelites, further establishing him as their leader. This is one of his Moses moments, where God promises him the respect of the people he’s leading. This is invaluable and again, not something a leader can completely do on their own.

A leader desires respect and can try to demand it, but genuine respect and exaltation (in this case) only comes from a changed heart. The people of Israel, who have been frustrated and wanting the latest style of sandals and shirts, will undergo a change that will endear Joshua to them as a definitive leader of their cause. He’s not holding up his staff to part the seas, but his communication with God has informed his instruction to the Israelites and when things work out, they’ll understand. He’ll earn their respect and his place as a leader.